Suzanne Peck: Understanding benefits can build engagement and productivity

suzanne peck

Employees who are aware of the benefits on offer to them are more likely to be advocates for their employer, as well as being more engaged and more productive, staying with the business for longer, as well as taking less time off.

Whether a pension scheme, paid leave for bereavement or free tea, the key thing is to make staff aware of what they are getting. How an employer does that will depend on the organisation, the culture and the tools it has at its disposal.

An employer should think about the ‘fixed’ opportunities to share information, such as during recruitment and inductions, in its handbook, during appraisals, and on the intranet. Then, there are additional touchpoints: the ‘moveable’ opportunities to raise awareness, such as a change to a benefit or a new addition, for which a special campaign can be created.

Effective communication explains the context of each provision and answers the ‘what is in it for me?’ question that most employees have. It is consistent, clear and speaks in the same language as the people, focusing more on the person than it is the process.

If an employer is making changes, it needs to consider the overall message and actual wording, so that it engages staff from the start, and factor in how and when communications are sent out so they do not get lost in other business noise.

To reach the people where they are, rather than asking them to actively seek information, it can be helpful to give them choice of how they can receive messages: printed, online, film, animation, podcast, text, internal social media and face-to-face are all effective ways to engage and play to personal preferences.

Then, it is key to make whatever methods are being used stand out. Eye-catching, visual, inspiring and creative content appeals to the brain and is more memorable than a wordy email, or a dry PowerPoint slide.

Suzanne Peck is president of the Institute of Internal Communication